“The Last Waltz” is a Martin Scorsese-directed “rockumentary” that featured the rock group The Band’s farewell concert appearance. The show was held on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco and included special guest performances by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr and other rock legends.
The film, released in 1978, also had backstage interviews with band members Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson and to this day it is hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made.
In a vintage 1978 interview with Scorsese and Robertson, the duo discussed the success of the concert film and the fun they had filming it. The “New York, New York” helmer talked about how he used seven 35mm cameras all positioned around the stadium and didn’t get any audience shots.
“Somehow the 35mm brought out expressions of the band, the people on the stage and I decided not to shoot the people in the audience either,” he explained. “We’ve seem so much concert footage and all you see is audience. But we do see the audience, but from their point of view.”
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Thanks to the amazing musicians Marty got to work with, he enjoyed his time directing everyone and following the artists. While it was unlike anything he had done before, he still treated it like a movie production, shooting various “scenes” to have it all come together.